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Goldsmiths - University of London

Making the Middle Classes on Shifting Ground? Residential Status, Performativity and Middle-Class Subjectivities in Contemporary London

Benson, Michaela and Jackson, Emma. 2017. Making the Middle Classes on Shifting Ground? Residential Status, Performativity and Middle-Class Subjectivities in Contemporary London. British Journal of Sociology, ISSN 0007-1315 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper examines the impacts of changes to housing tenure among the middle classes. Our premise is that shifts in access to housing – both in relation to rental and ownership – disrupt middle-class reproduction in ways that fundamentally influence class formation. We focus on the generational politics that are writ large in this process, reflecting the changing context of the London housing market. While property ownership has had a long association with middle-class identities, status and distinction, an increasingly competitive rental market alongside inflated property prices has impacted on expectations and anxieties over housing futures. Our key questions concern: What happens to middle-class identities under the conditions of this wider structural change? How do the middle classes variously manoeuvre within this? Based on empirical research, we demonstrate that becoming an owner-occupier may be fractured along lines of class but also along the axes of generation, wealth and timing, particularly as this relates to the housing market. Further, we argue that middle-class fragmentation is structured by and structuring of access to housing in the city and that this has wider repercussions within the urban landscape. Our intention is not to add to concerns about the ‘squeezed middle’ but rather to highlight the significance of housing for understanding how changing economic and social processes generate new class positioning and strategies for class reproduction.

Item Type: Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-4446.12256

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology

Dates:

DateEvent
June 2015Submitted
30 August 2016Accepted
29 March 2017Published Online

Item ID:

11865

Date Deposited:

1681

Last Modified:

07 Jul 2017 09:38

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/11865

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